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LOGGERHEAD Arusa Qureshi , July 11th, 2022 08:21

South London's Wu-Lu embraces the contradictions on an album featuring guest spots from Lex Amor, Léa Sen, and Black Midi’s Morgan Simpson

“The song is about a breakdown in communication between my inner voice and my external voice,” Wu-Lu said following the release of his single ‘Blame’. Sitting just over halfway through the South London producer’s debut album LOGGERHEAD, it consists of skittish drums and fluctuating electronics that naturally conjure up feelings of anxiety. It’s fierce and at the same time disconcerting but Wu-Lu’s statement about the track in particular encapsulates the sentiment of the whole album; surrendering to that collapse in distinction between our inner and outer selves.

LOGGERHEAD is a vivid and expressive debut, built from the ground up using a multitude of sounds – chopped up, thrown together and sometimes made to fit despite the obvious dissonance. From the atmospheric opening ‘Take Stage’, which eases you into this environment with strings that levitate around the vocals, to more furious and rowdy numbers like the unsteady, garage-influenced ‘Facts’ and fuzzy, grunge highlight ‘Times’, there is an intensity in the listening experience which carries you all the way through. The latter track, which includes Black Midi’s Morgan Simpson on drums, is reminiscent of 90s post-punk with hints of surf rock; that raw, unfiltered sound appearing throughout and somehow finding a place amongst the lo-fi hip hop and abstract instrumentals. We hear it on the beautifully wonky ‘Scrambled Tricks’ and anti-gentrification anthem ‘South’, which is made all the better by a razor-sharp verse by fellow-London rapper Lex Amor.

The pent up energy in tracks like ‘Night Pill’ and ‘Road Trip’ build to a raucous, screeching halt, while ‘Calo Paste’ has a claustrophobic feel in the string arrangements and vocal contrasts between Wu-Lu and French-Martinican singer Léa Sen, which again, work to illustrate that inner-outer clash. This is further amplified by the repeated, mantra-like phrase that circles round and round: “I don’t want to see your mental health go to waste, when you’re trying so hard”.

Life on the whole feels a little more erratic than usual for many of us and in under 45 minutes, Wu-Lu manages to skilfully capture this. It’s as if the chaos of the outside world continually finds a way to permeate our thoughts with little to no effort, even when our filters are working in overdrive to prevent such doom spirals. Though escapism is, more often than not, the go-to response for handling the steady stream of bad news, sometimes escapism just isn’t enough. Instead, we want to embrace the anger and frustration and face it head on. LOGGERHEAD is an album for exactly those moments; full of Wu-Lu’s visceral discontent, urgency and a stream of consciousness that perfectly soundtracks, and encourages, the erraticism within.